An analysis of the (now public) contract between Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and incinerator company Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) by Stroud Green Party has shown that Gloucestershire taxpayers are going to be over-charged by 200% for burning their own waste, and recycling will be marginalised.
Cllr Sarah Lunnon, who has campaigned against the incinerator and demanded sight of the contract for years, said “It’s no wonder the conservative cabinet wanted to keep these figures from the taxpayers – half of what Gloucestershire plans to burn is organic – wood, paper, plants. This costs around £50/tonne to process when separated; but rather than provide residents with simple effective, abundant recycling facilities for this material, we will be paying £146/tonne (an extra 200%) to incinerate it. This while pumping out CO2, destroying our climate and polluting our atmosphere.
She continued “This contract guarantees UBB’s profits by agreeing to provide 108,000 tonnes of rubbish every year for 25 years at £146/tonne (plus inflation) yet the industry average is £95/tonne. [The requirement to feed the incinerator is] effectively undermining increases in recycling. It’s a deliberate predatory pricing structure aimed at the recycling industry, funded by the taxpayer, the majority of who didn’t want an incinerator, who want greater reuse and recycling of materials. You couldn’t make it up”.
She finished “If this contract had been visible we could have had an informed debate on a better pricing structure. Instead the industry has run rings round the Tory cabinet”.
Rachel Smith, Green Party Candidate for Minchinhampton said “we have seen across Europe incredible recycling rates achieved, over 80%, yet top Tory County Councillors are secretly locking us into an expensive, outdated contract with guaranteed profits to incinerator builders, UBB. What we need is a strategy to recycle the 85% of our rubbish that is currently recyclable and a plan to help residents and business reduce the amount of rubbish generated. The only people this contracts helps are the backers and shareholders of UBB.”
Eva Ward Green Party County Candidate for Stroud Central said “It’s makes me so angry that this contract was withheld. If every district in Gloucestershire recycled at the new Stroud levels Gloucestershire would have 70,000 tonnes of residual waste. Under this contract such tonnage would effectively incur a penalty of £6 million. This contract is a bad deal for recycling, a bad deal for tax-payers and a bad deal for Gloucestershire. To over-pay so much on waste and protect company profits while cutting children’s services by millions is the product of a corrupt system”
- Under “what are the facts” in their factsheet found here, UBB claims that 56% of the energy generation is classed as renewable. That is from a plant short-carbon rotation crop, this includes food waste, paper products and wood. This material if separated can be recycled, or more cheaply and efficiently processed – see WRAP figures below
- WRAP Gate fees for Waste facilities can be accessed here
- Capannori, Italy in 2010 achieved recycling rates of 82% – see here for further details
- The Released contract can be seen here. Schedule 4 contains the payment mechanism